card games

There’s a medium in all things


A sophisticated scheme to use a casino’s own security systems against it has netted scammers $33m in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition’s cards.

The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia’s biggest casino, the Crown in Melbourne, according to the Herald Sun. He and his family checked into the Crown and were accommodated in one of its $30,000-a-night villas.

The player then joined a private high-stakes poker game in a private suite. At the same time, an unnamed person got access to the casino’s CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link. Over the course of eight hands the team fleeced the opposition to the tune of $33m.

{ The Register | Continue reading }

srceenshot { Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson: Bond Girl and Goldfinger’s aide-de-camp, whom Bond catches helping the villain cheat at a game of cards. He seduces her, but for her betrayal, she is completely painted in gold paint and dies from ’skin suffocation’ (a fictional condition Ian Fleming created for the novel; the skin does not actually “breathe”). }

Hokypoky penny a lump


Infiniti Poker, like several other new online gambling sites, plans to accept Bitcoin when it launches later this month. […]

Developed in 2009 by a mysterious programmer known as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoins behave much like any currency. Their value—currently about $13 per Bitcoin—is determined by demand. Transactions are handled through a decentralized peer-to-peer network similar to BitTorrent, the protocol for sharing films and music over the Internet. An assortment of merchants around the globe accept Bitcoin; it’s also the currency used on online black markets such as Silk Road, which processes an estimated $1.2 million a month in sales of illegal drugs, according to Nicolas Christin, the associate director of Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute.

Individuals can buy and sell Bitcoins using global currencies through such online exchanges as Mt. Gox. There’s even a service facilitated by BitInstant, a payment-processing company, that allows you to purchase the virtual currency for cash at 700,000 U.S. locations, including participating Wal-Mart, Duane Reade, and 7-Eleven stores. Once users have Bitcoins, they store them on their computers or mobile devices in files known as Bitcoin wallets or in cloud-based “e-wallets.”

Hajduk says Infiniti Poker will accept credit cards, wire transfers, and other payment options, but players in the U.S. will be able to play only using Bitcoins. He originally included the currency not to get around U.S. law but to reduce the time it takes to cash players out. Bank transactions can take up to 12 weeks; players who use Bitcoin can get a payout in a matter of hours, he says.

{ Businessweek | Continue reading }

He had learned of the existence of a number computed to a relative degree of accuracy to be of such magnitude and of so many places, e.g., the 9th power of the 9th power of 9


Blackjack players who “count cards” keep track of cards that have already been played and use this knowledge to turn the probability of winning in their favor. Though casinos try to eject card counters or otherwise make their task more difficult, card counting is perfectly legal. So long as card counters rely on their own memory and computational skills, they have violated no laws and can make sizable profits. By contrast, if players use a “device” to help them count cards, like a calculator or smartphone, they have committed a serious crime.

I consider two potential justifications for anti-device legislation and find both lacking. The first is that, unlike natural card counting, device-assisted card counting requires cognitive enhancement. It makes card counting less natural and is unfair to casinos and should therefore be prohibited. The second potential justification relies on the privacy of our thoughts. On this view, natural card counting is a kind of cheating that warrants punishment. We do not criminalize natural card counting, however, because such laws would interfere with our thought privacy.

{ Adam J. Kolber /SSRN | Continue reading }

The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.

Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

Is that what it’s all about?

{ Poker Bots Invade Online Gambling }

I recollect a young man putting the same question to Eddie the Dude. ‘Son,’ Eddie told him, ‘all you paid was the looking price. Lessons are extra.’


Recently there was a discussion in the TwoPlusTwo “News, Views, and Gossip” forum, now closed, about a new video casino game that might be of interest to poker players. Called, “Texas Hold’em Heads Up Poker”, it’s a slot machine style console that contains a computer that plays regular old heads-up limit Texas hold ‘em against players who care to put up their money.

What’s especially intriguing is that there’s no rake of any kind charged. Assuming it’s not cheating, which seems unlikely for a machine licensed in Nevada and built by a reputable manufacturer, the only way it can win in the long term is if it plays better than its opponents. That’s an intriguing proposition to anyone interested in the game of poker.

I have a background in software development, game theory, and have been writing an article series for Two Plus Two Magazine reviewing research on developing effective poker playing software, so investigating a game such as this one is right up my alley.

{ TwoPlusTwo | Continue reading }

She said, ‘How you gonna like ‘em, over medium or scrambled?’


The best poker players are masters of deception. They’re good at manipulating the actions of other players, while masking their own so that their lies become undetectable. But even the best deceivers have tells, and Meghana Bhatt from Baylor University has found some fascinating ones. By scanning the brains and studying the behaviour of volunteers playing a simple bargaining game, she has found different patterns of brain activity that correspond to different playing styles. These “neural signatures” separate the players who are adept at strategic deception from those who play more straightforwardly.

{ Discover Magazine | Continue reading }

photo { Helen Korpak }

I can get Lady Fingers to come


Lancey Howard: Gets down to what it’s all about, doesn’t it? Making the wrong move at the right time.

Cincinnati Kid: Is that what it’s all about?

Lancey Howard: Like life, I guess.

{ The Cincinnati Kid, 1965 }

‘It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.’ –Gore Vidal


What does your poker face look like? If it’s the traditional, stern, emotionless expression, you may want to consider practising a new one. (…)

‘Contrary to the popular belief that the optimal face is neutral in appearance,’ the researchers said, ‘poker players who bluff frequently may actually benefit from appearing [friendly,] trustworthy, since the natural tendency seems to be inferring that a trustworthy-looking player bluffs less.’ Before you try this out at your local poker den, remember the findings apply when you’re up against new opposition and there’s little other information to go on.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

photo { Richard Corman }